Rights Lawyer Essentialism and the Next Generation of Rights Critics
Richard Thompson Ford does not care much for the current state of civil rights. In his provocative new book, Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality, Ford lends an original, if often misdirected, voice to the chorus of contemporary critics of the American legal regime of rights. Situating himself among “second generation” rights critics (p. 259), Ford lays out a comprehensive indictment of current approaches to civil rights litigation as well as civil rights activism. His work is both intriguing and provocative, and it raises a number of issues that are surely worth serious consideration and discussion. As I argue in this Review, however, while his goals are laudable, his project is ultimately unsuccessful.